Jenny Baker is a 50-year-old marathon runner, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Running isn’t just what she does, it’s who she is.
In a recent blog post from the Guardian, Baker describes her experience with her oncologist, saying: “In his letter to my consultant outlining the treatment I would need, he included my marathon PB. I don’t know if that is usual, but it felt as if he was acknowledging who I am and what is important to me. When I asked if I could run to my chemotherapy sessions, he said no one had ever asked him that before, but there was no reason why I shouldn’t.”
There are many elements that can make up a person’s identity. For many of us, it is our work. Whether it be running or working, it is important to try to keep doing things that make you who you are.
Personalized treatments are becoming more and more common. Let your doctor know what is important to you, so you can collaborate on a treatment plan that maximizes the effectiveness against your cancer while minimizing the disruptiveness to your work and hobbies. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
For information on managing treatment side effects, relieving stress, and going back to work after cancer, please visit our At Work page, at www.cancerandcareers.org/en/at-work.